question on no-self

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question on no-self

Postby mranonymous » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:08 am

If there's no soul thatt gets reborn, is it possible at death for each bit of kamma to split off and and form a seperate being?
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Re: question on no-self

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:21 am

Short answer, No.

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Re: question on no-self

Postby mranonymous » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:21 pm

This makes no sense:Unlike the physical body, consciousness is not subject to disintegration. It passes on from one body to another and exists forever.” However, the Jātakas highlight only the continuity of the relationship concerning the doer of kamma and the bearer of its fruit. They do not imply the transfer of consciousness or any other attribute from one life to another.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby EndlessStream » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:41 pm

mranonymous wrote:If there's no soul thatt gets reborn, is it possible at death for each bit of kamma to split off and and form a seperate being?

I think this is a good question. For example, if I get angry, my anger can also make another person get angry. One act of kamma results in the arising of many beings. Your theory could explain why the human population has grown so much during the era of globalisation. Otherwise, we may ask the question: "Since the population is growing, where do all of the reborn streams come from?" I like your theory. The more anger & desire in the world, the more human population growth from rebirth.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:21 am

I think that kamma does not come in bits.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:47 am

mranonymous wrote:If there's no soul thatt gets reborn, is it possible at death for each bit of kamma to split off and and form a seperate being?


Is there any choice that you would make one way if you knew the answer was "yes", but would make differently if the answer was "no"? If so, what choice or choices are influenced by this answer? If not, what's to be gained by giving the question such attention?
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Re: question on no-self

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:11 am

mranonymous wrote:This makes no sense:Unlike the physical body, consciousness is not subject to disintegration. It passes on from one body to another and exists forever.” However, the Jātakas highlight only the continuity of the relationship concerning the doer of kamma and the bearer of its fruit. They do not imply the transfer of consciousness or any other attribute from one life to another.

Hello mranonymous,

Which Jataka?

I'm assuming that you are speaking about one of the verses and not one of the stories.

With metta,
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: question on no-self

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:33 am

cooran wrote:
mranonymous wrote:This makes no sense:Unlike the physical body, consciousness is not subject to disintegration. It passes on from one body to another and exists forever.” However, the Jātakas highlight only the continuity of the relationship concerning the doer of kamma and the bearer of its fruit. They do not imply the transfer of consciousness or any other attribute from one life to another.

Hello mranonymous,

Which Jataka?

I'm assuming that you are speaking about one of the verses and not one of the stories.

With metta,
Chris


This appears to be a quote from the "Discourse on Dependent Origination" link provided by Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala as the "Long Answer" of his response above. The initial underlined part of the quote is part of the "The Wrong View of Venerable Sāti" and the latter part is explaining how the view was wrong. It seems that the wrong view included the belief that consciousness "exists forever" and thus sided with eternalism, while the explanation describes how the nature of cause and effect does not require any particular eternal thing to exist.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Long Answer
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Re: question on no-self

Postby mranonymous » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:50 am

It seems like someone accidentally changed the link that pesala provided
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Re: question on no-self

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:53 am

Thanks to culaavuso for clarifying. It was indeed a quote of the wrong view held by Bhikkhu Sāti.

The idea of consciousness being permanent makes no sense. However, the process of cause and effect does not cease with death.

The link is fine. The server is running slowly at the moment. Server maintenance if often carried out early on a Sunday morning when activity is lower.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby mranonymous » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:01 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Thanks to culaavuso for clarifying. It was indeed a quote of the wrong view held by Bhikkhu Sāti.

The idea of consciousness being permanent makes no sense. However, the process of cause and effect does not cease with death.

The link is fine. The server is running slowly at the moment. Server maintenance if often carried out early on a Sunday morning when activity is lower.


By consciousness being permanent, you mean consciousness being unchanging, right?
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Re: question on no-self

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:45 am

People generally think and believe that there is something within them that sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and knows through the six senses.

They generally believe that the same person or being, self or soul, you or me, that saw something yesterday is the same person or being, self or soul, you or me, who recalls it today.

The consciousness that saw something yesterday arose and passed away right there. The mind consciousness that perceived that sight yesterday, arose and passed away right there and then. The perception that recognised and remembered that sight yesterday, arose and passed away right there and then.

The consciousness that remembered that sight today also arises and passes away from moment to moment. The wrong-view that believes in a person or being, a self or a soul, you or me, and believes wrongly that it is permanent, also arises and passes away. Wrong-view is a mental formation. The reason that wrong-view keeps on arising is due to unsystematic attention. That is, we do not see things as they really are, but only as they seem to be. It is like a magician's illusion.

This wrong-view of a self or person, a soul or consciousness, that is permanently existing, and that experiences and acts with intention, is deeply rooted and difficult to remove. Reading about and understanding this self-view on a conceptual level is helpful to some extent. However, unless we practise insight meditation seriously, intensively, and continuously for a considerable period, the self-illusion will remain just as convincing and deeply-rooted as ever.

Bhikkhu Sāti held the wrong-view that although the body perished at death, the consciousness, which he perceived as a self or soul, did not perish, but transferred to a new existence. Such beliefs in the transmigration of a soul are common, even among misinformed Buddhists. Others believe that the self is annihilated at death — that is the other extreme wrong-view.

The Buddha explained that consciousness arises dependent on conditions, that it is impermanent, and is not-self. Because it is dependently arisen, consciousness can arise whenever the conditions for its arising are present. As long as we keep making kamma, we will continue to reap its effects. The Buddha taught a way leading to cessation of kamma and its effects.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:52 am

So my memory of yesterday is all made up, a complete illusion??
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: question on no-self

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:17 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:So my memory of yesterday is all made up, a complete illusion??

I think the Buddha makes a good case that your entire existence is made up.....that is to say the existence of a self (your self) that owns the existence is entirely made up.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby Anagarika » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:39 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:So my memory of yesterday is all made up, a complete illusion??


My thought is that this is the memory of the mundane self that we create so as to exist in the world. These memories are fragments of events as you lived and perceived them. These events, however are impermanent, and from a quantum mechanics (and Buddhist) point of view, only a perception lacking any fixed reality. We need the conventional, mundane self in order to register for classes, and to pay our bills under our name. But these identities are impermanent, and empty of independent existence. Your memory is not an illusion, but the nature of reality itself may be.

This is why the idea of "no-self," I feel, is better framed as "not self." The self we create to navigate the samsaric world is empty and impermanent. Keep in mind that the Buddha refused to answer certain metaphysical questions, as these issues were not important to his strategy of dependent co-origination, kamma and release.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:04 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:The self we create to navigate the samsaric world is empty and impermanent.


I think being aware of the way that the concept of self is created is helpful in understanding this doctrine. A good example of this being explained in the suttas is in SN 5.10

SN 5.10: Vajira Sutta wrote:This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.

Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.


In the case of a chariot, there isn't really a particular thing that is the chariot. Conventionally, we could swap out any part of the chariot for another part and it would tend to be called the "same" chariot, even though it isn't really the same. The chariot could also be used as a storage shed if someone wished. The label "chariot" means that there is a conglomeration of parts which we intend to use for transportation. The intention to move between locations quickly combined with this set of parts combined in a particular way creates a situation where the label "chariot" has utility.

In a similar way there is consciousness of perceptions, intentions, feelings, and form, but there is no "self" to be found as an existing thing. It's simply a conventional name applied to aspects of experience as a tool for functioning in the world. Not only is there no particular thing that is the self, but the individual parts that we label as "self" are each individually arising and ceasing from moment to moment. Further, the function and utility of that tool is dependent upon the intentions with which we want to use that tool. There is no point for the label "self" without an intention to do something based on that label. These intentions then tend to be based on the three unwholesome roots in that they are usually things like greed for luxuries for this self, aversion to pain for this self, or the delusion that this self exists in a way that makes it worthy of forming intentions around.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby Aloka » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:17 pm

mranonymous wrote:If there's no soul thatt gets reborn, is it possible at death for each bit of kamma to split off and and form a seperate being?


Curiously, in the Tibetan Buddhist tulku system, Alexander Berzin has said that the following can occur:


Participant: Can a tulku have several forms at the same time?

Alex: Yes, it is possible for tulkus to reincarnate in several forms simultaneously, but that’s a very high level. It depends on the level.


http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/teachers/spiritual_student/directing_rebith_tibetan_tulku_system.html



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Re: question on no-self

Postby santa100 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:40 pm

mranonymous wrote: If there's no soul thatt gets reborn, is it possible at death for each bit of kamma to split off and and form a seperate being?

If that was true, then there'd be some problem. Say, Mr. GB countless lifetimes ago created some wholesome kamma and some unwholesome one. The good chunk then splitted off and became the "good" branches of G1, G2,...Gn in subsequent lifetimes; while the bad chunk became the "bad" branches of B1, B2,...Bn in subsequent lifetimes. The last iteration of Gn culminated in the highest attainment of Siddhartha Gautama, while the last iteration of Bn resulted in...Devadatta. Here's the main problem: the "G" series would only experience the good fruits, not the bad ones; while the "B" series would experience the reverse; needless to say, this is not the case in real life where individuals experience both the good and bad fruits throughout their life. Beside, if "each bit" of kamma splitted off and form a separate being, everyone would've started off fresh with just 1 single good card or bad card in the next lifetime, this would never accumulate enough merits or de-merits for one to eventually become the Buddha or...Devadatta..
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Re: question on no-self

Postby EndlessStream » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:44 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The consciousness that saw something yesterday arose and passed away right there. The mind consciousness that perceived that sight yesterday, arose and passed away right there and then. The perception that recognised and remembered that sight yesterday, arose and passed away right there and then.

The consciousness that remembered that sight today also arises and passes away from moment to moment. The wrong-view that believes in a person or being, a self or a soul, you or me, and believes wrongly that it is permanent, also arises and passes away. Wrong-view is a mental formation. The reason that wrong-view keeps on arising is due to unsystematic attention. That is, we do not see things as they really are, but only as they seem to be. It is like a magician's illusion.

The Buddha explained that consciousness arises dependent on conditions, that it is impermanent, and is not-self. Because it is dependently arisen, consciousness can arise whenever the conditions for its arising are present. As long as we keep making kamma, we will continue to reap its effects. The Buddha taught a way leading to cessation of kamma and its effects.

The Maha Nidana Sutta states consciousness descends into the womb at the conception of a new child in a mother's womb. Ajahn Brahm explains the stream of consciousness ('soc') is attracted to the mother. The Theravada commentaries state this consciousness is a 'relinking' consciousness. Like Retrofuturist, you have not mentioned the relinking consciousness that descends into the mother's womb.
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Re: question on no-self

Postby santa100 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:28 pm

EndlessStream wrote: The Maha Nidana Sutta states consciousness descends into the womb at the conception of a new child in a mother's womb. Ajahn Brahm explains the stream of consciousness ('soc') is attracted to the mother. The Theravada commentaries state this consciousness is a 'relinking' consciousness. Like Retrofuturist, you have not mentioned the relinking consciousness that descends into the mother's womb.

There's no conflict between Ven. Pesala's explanation and DN 15 ( http://suttacentral.net/dn15/en ) and the relinking consciousness. Maurice Walshe's commented in "The Long Discourses":
RD points out that this and other passages disprove the idea that consciousness (viññāṇa) transmigrates. For holding this belief Sāti was severely rebuked by the Buddha (MN 38). A new relinking consciousness (patisandhi) arises at conception, dependent on the old (see VM 17.164ff.).

And Vism XVII.164 further explained:
The former of these [two states of consciousness] is called “death” (cuti)
because of falling (cavana), and the latter is called “rebirth-linking” (paþisandhi)
because of linking (paþisandhána) across the gap separating the beginning of
the next becoming. But it should be understood that it has neither come here
from the previous becoming nor has it become manifest without the kamma, the
formations, the pushing, the objective field, etc., as cause.
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